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DNR: Donations to protecting endangered species dropped by half in past decade

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Wisconsin DNR logo (properly sized)
Wisconsin DNR logo (properly sized)

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsinites are only half as generous as a decade ago in donating money to protect endangered species.

The Wisconsin State Journal says income tax check off donations to the DNR’s Endangered Resources Bureau plunged from a record $673,000 in 2001, to a 12-year low of $285,000 last year. And the bureau’s revenues from the popular wolf license plate dropped from $633,000 in 1999, to $335,000 in the last fiscal year.

The plate costs motorists an extra $25 a year.

The State Journal says total donations have dropped around 50 percent over the last 10 years – and the DNR’s trying to find out why.

Some officials believe it might have been because of the long court battles over removing grey wolves from the federal endangered specialist. But since the debate first began in 2007, wolf license plates sales remained strong through 2007.

The DNR’s Erin Crain says her agency is working on a new public education plan to explain the bureau’s efforts. She said, “We have a compelling message that doesn’t always get translated that well.”

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